Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Apologia's I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Curriculum

Apologia Educational Ministries has just introduced their first apologetics curriculum for high school students and I get the pleasure of telling you all about it.  In fact I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Curriculum is a study that is not only good for teens but it is also great for adults as it will help them defend their faith against atheism by tackling issues such as truth, moral relativism, postmodernism, and many others.

This curriculum is a companion to the best selling book for which it was named I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.  (You will need both the book and the curriculum for the study.)

The introduction gives an overview of where the book is headed and why it is necessary.  Basically there are three major religious worldviews which are discussed and defined in the beginning.  (Agnosticism is also addressed)

All religions try to answer the most consequential questions in life. Where did we come from?  Who are we? Why are we here? How should we live? Where are we going?  The answers to the questions depends on the existence of God.  However, science also attempts to answer some of these questions.  Where did the universe come from? Where did life come from? Since all religious worldviews (including atheism) make truth claims the authors propose that when you examine them scientifically, looking at the data using both reason and intellect, you will conclude belief in Christianity is the most reasonable outcome. The outline for the rest of the book and study guide follows the 12 main points they use to make that argument.  They "proceed logically from the question of truth all the way to the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God."

12 Points That Show Christianity is True

1.  Truth about reality is knowable.
2.  The opposite of true is false.
3.  It is true that the theistic God exists.  This is evidenced by the:
     a. Beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)
     b. Design of the universe (Teleological Argument/ Anthropic Principle)
     c. Design of life (Teleological Argument)
     d. Moral Law (Moral Argument)
4.  If God exists, then miracles are possible.
5.  Mircales can be used to confirm a message from God. (i.e., as acts of God to confirm a word of God).
6. The New Testament is historically reliable.  This is evidenced by:
     a. Early testimony
     b. Eyewitness testimony
     c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony
     d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived
7.  The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.
8.  Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:
     a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;
     b. His sinless life and miraculous deeds;
     c. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection.
9.  Therefore, Jesus is God.
10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.
11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.
12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

Now realize that they are not saying these truths are true by definition alone.  They actually spend time on each point in the book giving evidence proving each specific truth.  It then builds from one truth on to the next truth.  For instance you can't really prove that point 12 is true until you have first established that truth is actually knowable which is point 1. 

Each chapter of the I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Curriculum begins by telling you exactly what part of the book you should read first before beginning, including both the chapter number and page numbers.  (The book chapters do not directly correlate to the study chapters.) Then it tells you what part of the 12 points listed above are addressed in this section.  You are then given key topics that you will be learning and key terms that you should be able to define from your reading.  After that there are 4 basic sections to each study chapter.

Hook - This section is a brief reminder and review of what you read and often includes questions to start your study off.

Book - This section goes deeper into the study and issues addressed in the book and will have comprehensive questions to test your knowledge.

Look - Here they want you to go beyond what they have taught you and to look some things up for yourself.  You are also challenged with various assignments that help you put what you learn into practice.

Took - This is a summary of the lesson that helps you apply what you learned to your own life and witness for Christ.

Each chapter also has two highlighted sections that tell you about a specific person, object, or theory that has impacted the topic you are discussing.  Each time they address someone or something from each side of the argument.  For instance the introduction tells you about Carl Sagan and C.S. Lewis while another chapter highlights the dead sea scrolls and Rashi whose commentary on the Talmud is still in use today.

I am absolutely loving this study. I have to admit that I am not real great when it comes to the scientific evidence and was pleased that they present it in both a fashion that is understandable to people like me and at the same time detailed and proficient enough to be taken seriously by people who are in the scientific community.  For instance I loved how they followed the Apollo 13 story to really illustrate how highly precise and interdependent environmental conditions are necessary for life to be possible.  These are known as anthropic constants which make up the Anthropic Principle.  These terms are technical but their illustration made them easily understood and enjoyable to read about.

I have also enjoyed the workbook questions.  I am really trying to get these facts down and moving slowly as the guides suggests.  The assignments have been fun as well.  Recently we were asked to look for self-defeating statements in the media or on the Internet and then to write about it. That was an easy assignment for me.  All I had to do was log on to Facebook.

Recently the issue of gay marriage was all the rave and Christians were constantly being told not to be "judgmental." I pointed out that the argument "do not judge" is a self-defeating argument because it is a "judgment" to state that someone else is "judgmental."  The argument immediately breaks down because you are doing the very thing that you are saying is wrong.  Being hateful in your outrage of somebody else that you have deemed to be "hateful" removes the credibility from your argument. Christians (in general) are not being hateful to the gay and lesbian community.  They simply disagree with them.  While you can find hateful and judgmental people on both sides of the aisle, the argument needs to be about facts, not emotions. Should marriage be between a man and a woman or does it matter?  That is why it is important that we are able to show that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore it must be followed.  That conclusion should not be based upon blind faith or emotion, but reason, intellect and evidence.

You should be able to complete the  I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Curriculum in less than 9 months so it is a perfect fit for any homeschool.  If you have high school students I highly recommend having them do this study.  In fact I highly recommend every Christian adult do it too.  Since Gess is not in high school yet, I have used this on my own and am anxious to try and start up a study with other adults or high school students, either at church or in my home.  For now my husband is going to join me in it.  I am really enjoying it and learning a lot.  It is also grounding me in my faith (which was pretty grounded to begin with).  God has called us to reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18) and to demolish arguments against God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  As they say in the book, "Christians don't get brownie points for being stupid."  Instead we need to love God with our heart, soul and our mind. (Matt 22:37).  This book encourages you to use your mind, your reason, and intellect to stand firm and defend your faith against those who oppose it. 

You can purchase the I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Curriculum for $33.00 and the I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist book for $16.00.  While you can learn so much from just reading the book, I have found the curriculum provides many additional facts and resources and it has truly helped me to retain the information and put it into practice. I would definitely want them both. To learn more about this curriculum and the book visit their website where they have a sample chapter and table of contents for you to preview.  You can also see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about it by clicking on the banner below.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a copy of the I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Book and Curriculum for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.
Note: All pricing is current at the time of posting and is subject to change.

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